Author Topic: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)  (Read 973 times)

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« on: April 10, 2020, 08:48:24 pm »
I've just discovered a couple of unused Brevet cards at the back of the drawer - these were issued by Bernard Mawson for 'Personal British Arrow' rides, and are undated.

I think they might have been for a ride series that I started but couldn't hope to complete which were DIY Perms from "your home town" to/from specific towns on the coast. But why were they 'arrows' not vanilla permanents?

Equally (and I accept I'm got too much time on my hands) can someone remind me of the list of towns, and the name of the series that was a 'round the coast' series linking these same places in approx 200km steps. I seem to think that Tilbury, Great Yarmouth, Skegness, and Ullapool were among them, but what were the rest?
Is there any record of anyone completing either the Round the Coast Series or the full hand of home to coastal points?
What sort of year would this have been - I'm guessing mid-90s?

Questions, questions!
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2020, 08:56:04 pm »
From vague memory, those perm series were inspired by several French perm series e.g. Fleche de France (Paris to/ from cities on the French perimeter), Sea to Summit (French coastal cities to famous cols/ cotes). Another perm series were the Relais de France (connecting the Fleche de France cities around the perimeter). There was usually a special award for completing the series.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2020, 09:12:32 pm »
It was a clever idea - a different challenge for everyone.
If you lived in (say) Lincoln then the east coast points were 'easy' and the northern and western points became progressively harder to attain; alternatively if you lived in (say) Bristol, then it was a totally different set of challenges.
Today, it's the sort of personal challenge you could set yourself using DIY Perms, which are a relatively recent addition to the AUK canon.
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2020, 09:56:19 pm »
Most people don’t have the imagination or discipline to do a series of rides around a theme without a recognised award. Things like the Fleche de France or Diagonales attract riders because of an interesting concept and because they can get a rare/ coveted award. Being the only person doing a ‘meaningless but themed’ series of DIYs doesn’t appeal to most AUKs.

AUK used to have gold/ silver awards for some perms (e.g. E2E) depending on minimum speed, again based on a number of French perms.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2020, 11:51:33 pm »
Following up your other query, I think McNasty completed the full series of ‘roughly 200km’ brevets around the British coast as a consecutive series but with rest days. https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=79021.0
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2020, 10:19:22 am »
They were Arrows (and in France still are Fleches) because they went from one place to another (implication, in a straight line).

From vague memory, those perm series were inspired by several French perm series e.g. Fleche de France (Paris to/ from cities on the French perimeter), Sea to Summit (French coastal cities to famous cols/ cotes). Another perm series were the Relais de France (connecting the Fleche de France cities around the perimeter). There was usually a special award for completing the series.

Mer-Montagne in French of course.  Alliteration rules, even in la belle France.  We did try a Sea-Summit in emulation of the French idea but I (as organiser) pulled it after a couple of seasons because (a) getting PoP was too difficult and (b) most entrants wanted to do impure things like folding the route or starting from home, which I deplored.  A trend that led eventually to DIYs of course.

Looking at an old Handbook, Bernards 'Personal Arrows' were rides from (or to) your home to (or from) one of 24 designated coastal towns, sort-of equally spaced around the UK mainland.
His 'Round Britain Relays' were 200km-ish 1-way rides between each adjacent pair of the same 24 coastal towns.

No idea how popular they were (all Perms were very niche** compared with how DIYs have taken off now) as I don't know of any cogent Perms records retained from before 2002. John may have some in paper form I suppose.
** Of 1,884,980 total kms ridden in the season year 2000, just 177,850km were Perms - a small proportion compared with say 2019 - 6,237,000km total, and 1,249,245km
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Re: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2020, 03:29:26 pm »
Following up your other query, I think McNasty completed the full series of ‘roughly 200km’ brevets around the British coast as a consecutive series but with rest days. https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=79021.0

Yes. I think that Mc Nasty might have been the only one who rode the whole route. If it's what I think it might be, then it was part of a chain of events that started around the early-mid 90s when I got stuck into points chasing.

My chronology might be off and I've probably missed things out, but going from the beginning.

1st, there were Calendar events
Then there were perms
Pete Coulson set up the Lincoln-Winchester perms (so Liz Creese could ride the same route without falling foul of the now obsolete, no repeated rides for championship award rule)


This is where I came in, so around 1994.
Sheila Simpson set up Hostel Arrows, that were loosely based on Easter Arrows (so the French Fleche rides) You basically had 24 hours to do 360km-720km and must either start or finish at a YHA youth hostel (because they all had stamps in those days and this was before we collected receipts, which followed just a few years later as rubber stamps diminished from everywhere and till receipts became more high tech)
Alongside the Hostel Arrows, were Hostel Darts. Same thing, only 12 hours instead of 24. Same max/min speed.

Next was Pete Coulson's Round the Coast series of 200km rides.
It was around that time that Bernard Mawson also set an almost identical series of rides around the coast!

I don't know much about Bernard Mawson's events. Pete Coulson was local, so I rode his events and didn't take much notice of Bernard's.

But Pete also set up coastal darts (and arrows too IIRC) so that you could ride a perm to the start of one of his rides around the coast. They were based on Sheila's Hostel Darts and Arrows (which were based on Easter Arrows etc)

I expect that Bernard Mawson did the same for his coastal rides, which may be the brevet card that you have.


Then came the Midlands Mesh which almost killed everything off until the DIY killed that off. The YHA closing hostel didn't help with the Hostel Arrow and Darts, which died in the early 2000s. A same, I had some very nice rides that ended with me staying in a hostel. I used them as a way of riding to and from events and claiming points when I was points chasing back then.

Re: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2020, 03:43:14 pm »

Then came the Midlands Mesh which almost killed everything off until the DIY killed that off.
Dead but not forgotten, I'm still ticking off legs of it for fun and the details are still online
http://www.aukweb.net/mesh/index.htm

Re: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2020, 01:24:11 pm »

Then came the Midlands Mesh which almost killed everything off until the DIY killed that off.
Dead but not forgotten, I'm still ticking off legs of it for fun and the details are still online
http://www.aukweb.net/mesh/index.htm

I never knew it was still going. Pete Coulson's Mesh has gone. I remember going as far south as Dorset and often into Anglia, usually starting my rides from Towcester, Northants, 11 miles from my home, which was the nearest node.
Pete Coulson came up with the idea to begin with. People liked it and riders all over the country wanted it, so it expanded and several people started planning nodes, then it was agreed that they could all link together.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2020, 01:27:04 pm »
The Mesh doesn’t exist anymore but you can ride it as DIYs. Unfortunately a few of the mesh legs have shortest distances slightly lower than is listed.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2020, 01:55:16 pm »
The shortest distances were calculated before we had googlemaps. I think a few started using AA Autoroute around that time and found shorter routes for both calendar and permanent events. But it was only a small handful who used AA Autoroute. GPSs ran for about 8hrs on a set of expensive AAA batteries. Rechargeable batteries weren't as good then either and lithiums weren't as easy to get hold of. So we were nearly all using routesheets and maps.

Lots of routes for events changed as tech advanced and became more freely available. Shorter routes between controls were found out even with AA Autoroute, but when googlemaps got going AUK were pretty much obliged to require organisers to alter their routes.

Pete's Mesh routes were usually over distance. I was a little out of favour with a few others when a 600km Mesh ride I planned turned out to be 640km. I thought 40km wasn't too bad for a Mesh ride.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2020, 02:09:22 pm »
Well, yes. Originally distances between brevet controls were pragmatically determined. Then it became ‘computer says no!’ and calculated to the nearest 100m or nearest 10m or whatever.

I find it interesting that the Mesh spawned the Poor Student, Dean and perhaps a couple of other calendar brevets. Certainly there are sections of plenty of calendar brevets that follow Mesh tramlines.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2020, 02:38:53 pm »
I seem to remember doing one of those with you Steve and in 2009 if my memory is correct.  We started & finished at Thame and went to Howden and back with a sleep stop at Lincoln Premier Inn. 

finishing that one got my SR for the year.  Sadly not done another SR since.

Re: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2020, 02:51:26 pm »
Audax rides tend to stick to the same roads.
I lost interest in Audax in the early 2000s because for several weeks running, I rode over the Marlborough Downs and thought that I joined Audax partly to see new and different places. I was riding about 400 miles every weekend and doing mostly the same roads.
Like the Mesh, routes are restricted by a limited number of controls and the shortest routes between those places. We have plenty more roads to use, but most can't be used for Audax because they're not the most direct route.
The Mesh worked well to get people riding more and helping them plan new routes they might not have thought of. The controls and links on the Mesh suggested that there was somewhere to find a control and there was a good route. It also meant that you could start a ride from much closer to home. It was a bit controversial at the time. Then even more so with DIYs where you can start from your own home and even use home as a control.

Re: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2020, 02:53:05 pm »
I seem to remember doing one of those with you Steve and in 2009 if my memory is correct.  We started & finished at Thame and went to Howden and back with a sleep stop at Lincoln Premier Inn. 

finishing that one got my SR for the year.  Sadly not done another SR since.

I remember that ride but not the year. 2009 sounds about right.
That was Pete Coulson's Middle Road.

Re: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2020, 03:41:16 pm »
Although the "Mesh" is no longer official, I use it as a guide for all my DIY's, my rides are based on the Eastern Peak & Plain, East/West, but they do venture into Northern Climes & Midland mesh, if you're into nostalgia like I am these rides are fun, you have to get creative finding a POP on a 400 in a place like Binbrook. Although the mesh is either under or over distance it's not far out when you do the Google Maps distancing thing, but I do stress it's only a guide.

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

  • Miles eaten don't satisfy hunger
  • Chartered accountant in 5 different decades
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Re: 'Personal British Arrow' (History Questions)
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2020, 06:55:59 pm »
I enjoyed the Midlands Mesh series, which as above, had extended to most of England.  My very first Randonnee (I'd ridden a few 100s at the end of 2002) was a Mesh: Overton - Hungerford - Malmesbury - Faringdon - Goring - Overton (Streatley Hill at 100 miles - that was a challenge) and overdistance - although I may not have been economical with the route.

And my first SR series in 2005 was completed by a mesh perm: Overton - Romsey - Shaftesbury - Cheddar - Malmesbury - Hungerford - Overton - fond memories of sitting in a cafe watching England v Australia in an Ashes test whilst munching on a ham and cheese toastie.

I had great fun planning routes for 400s and 600s without ever completing the rides.  They were very useful as I could use my local shop as a start/finish control on some of the legs - especially Goring - Alton and (with a bit of extra distance) Goring - Cranleigh.  That was great when work and family limited my chances for longer rides or travelling to events.

I based my Basingstoke - York Dinner Dart ride in 2009 loosely on Mesh routes.  THen GPS and DIY perms made the whole thing redundant.  Teethgrinder is correct that some of the Mesh legs got overly familiar, but I've found myself repeating them sometimes when I've needed to get home from somewhere - such as Crawley last year when I finished a charity ride between my firm's offices and had to get home. 

The spirit lives on in the Cambrian series rides (also set up by Peter Coulson) with a few more recent additions, which, although they have fixed routes between control towns (I presume to fix the AAA points) have similar principles of riding between free controls in small towns to make up the requisite distance.

Eddington Numbers 125 (imperial), 170 (metric) 520 (furlongs)  112 (nautical miles)